Supporting HOA's and Civic Associations
We have more than 140 neighborhood associations in my district, a great testament to our residents’ commitment to giving back to their community. Through my office, we're working hard to reach out to neighborhood leaders to give them whatever information and support they need. This September we're going to hold a "summit" to bring leaders from all HOA/CA’s together to talk about what does and does not work in their neighborhoods. I think it will provide a great opportunity for connections to be made and ideas to be exchanged. The event will be Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kings Park Library. We live in an absolutely spectacular area, and much of that has to do with the dedicated women and men volunteering in their communities.
Residential Studio Housing Units
The Board of Supervisors is currently considering a change to the Fairfax County zoning code that would allow smaller, more affordable studio housing units to be built. A studio is a unit without a separate bedroom. This change is in response to the growing demand for these units, fueled both by a need to provide housing for those less fortunate and people with disabilities, as well as for young professionals looking for affordable options at the start of their careers. The new units should help some people live closer to work thereby reducing commuting times, give young people an opportunity to move out of their parents’ homes, and increase transit use. The changes are designed to ensure that illegal boarding houses cannot become legal as studio unit buildings. The new units will not be large or numerous enough to change the character of our neighborhoods, but will allow private builders to meet a demand in the market. This proposal is being crafted very carefully by the Board of Supervisors, and I think it will ultimately be a significant benefit for Fairfax County.
“As new residents to our district, I hope you will join your neighbors in pledging to drive slowly and safely, especially in residential areas.”
—Supervisor John Cook (R- Braddock)
Braddock Road Widening
There's going to be a transportation revolution in Fairfax County in the coming years as we continue working to connect this area to important job centers in and out of the county. As part of this ongoing effort, there are preliminary plans underway for the widening of Braddock Road between Burke Lake Road and 495. The road is already well over capacity, and can be a serious bottleneck at times. By widening the road, and adding Bus/HOV lanes, we can alleviate car traffic and help improve public transportation options for residents. In particular, the new Connector bus that uses the 495 Express Lanes will be able to run even faster, providing quick, easy and cheap service to Tysons. The troublesome intersection at Wakefield Chapel and Danbury Drive would also likely be fixed as part of construction. Look for a community planning meeting in 2014.
We have all seen it, and worse, many of us have done it. The fact is it is dangerous, and puts our children at risk. I have pushed the board to address speeding in our neighborhoods. At my urging, the county has designed a public relations campaign urging people to slow down. Now the Board of Supervisors needs to fund it. We also need to restore funding for traffic calming in our neighborhoods. As new residents to our district, I hope you will join your neighbors in pledging to drive slowly and safely, especially in residential areas. If you think your neighborhood needs traffic calming, please contact me and I'll see what I can do.
Stormwater Management Ordinance
Stormwater runoff is a big water quality issue, particularly for places like Fairfax, which lies within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In a more natural condition, land, which acts as a kind of filter, would soak up the rain. However, in a developed area like Fairfax, the water flows off of buildings and right over roads and parking lots, accumulating pollutants along the way. This water leads to storm drains, which lead directly to streams, not to a wastewater treatment facility. Anything that goes down a storm drain goes directly to the nearest stream and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay. As both federal and state regulations have been tightened on stormwater runoff, more and more stormwater management controls have been put into place. Currently, in response to actions coming from federal and state requirements, Fairfax County is developing a Stormwater Management Ordinance. This will have a number of impacts, particularly on how development will manage stormwater runoff. Depending on the size of the development, this ordinance will require both new home builders and commercial developers to install facilities on site that handle the stormwater runoff, and could affect existing homeowners as well. I am working to reduce the impact on existing homeowners and to strike an appropriate balance between controlling runoff and not over-regulating private property. The board will continue reviewing this issue before the December 2013 deadline set by the state.